When it comes to the sales process, the discovery phase is the most important step. It’s here that you get to ask questions, gauge the company’s level of interest, gather information to help you close the deal, and set the tone for the entire customer relationship.
Discovery calls help you understand why the individual might actually buy your product—not just why the company should buy it. Prospects aren’t just buying your product because they think it’s the best; they want to buy it because it’s helping a certain team or process that can be improved with your product. Understanding this need for a pain point is key to closing the deal.
The discovery phase consists of two components: Asking relevant questions for your needs and actively listening to the prospect to understand theirs.
Five Steps for a Successful Sales Discovery Call
1. Prepare custom questions and practice them. You can’t just wing it on each call. Before each call, read up on the prospect — take a look at their social media, what they’re interested in, and get a general overview of who you’re dealing with. Prepare a list of questions you think might pertain to the prospect and practice them with your account executive or manager (or coach).
2. Set the tone and agenda of the call. A lot of times SDRs jump straight into the selling, leaving prospects confused. To avoid this, take control of the call from the start. Before you start discussing anything with the prospect, lay down an agenda and let them know what the objective of the call is and what you’ll be discussing. This will help you start off on a good foot and set expectations with the client.
3. Ask the right questions. You want to use your qualification mechanism to factor in budget, authority, need, and timeline (BANT).
4. Work on the closure. The only way to know if the sales discovery call was successful is if you’ve locked down a date and time for the next call. Summarize all that you’ve discussed on the call, focusing on how your company can help the prospect solve or improve a problem. Try and make them agree that your solution is the solution.
Another great way to use this opportunity to shorten the sales cycle is to get other stakeholders involved in the next conversation by asking “Who else is this important to in the company?”
5. Coach, learn, and repeat. Regular coaching has been proven to help salespeople boost their revenue by 17%. Conducting successful discovery calls is tough, even for seasoned sales reps. The only way to improve the process is to look back, learn from your mistakes, and try not to repeat them in the next call.
Look at sales discovery calls as a way to connect with the prospect and, to do that, you need to find common ground and work from there. Don’t be a robot — connect with the pain points the prospect is sharing and how you can help them alleviate them.
Read as much as you can about the company and the prospect. A good discovery call is always backed up by thorough research and understanding of the prospect and the company.
Personalize your interaction. Even if you’re following a script, leave plenty of space in your conversations to tailor it to the prospect you’re talking to. Take some time out before the call and develop ideas to personalize the conversation based on the research you’ve done about them.
Finally, don’t be afraid to ask questions during the call. If a particular bit of information is important for the next call, ask! The whole point of the call is to get the information you need to move forward.